Day 3: Experiencing the Dungeon
I don’t know if you have ever found yourself in a place you never thought you would end up, and it just doesn’t make any sense–but this is where we meet John the Baptist today. He has been in the front, heralding the Messiah. But that was then. Now he is in prison, experiencing the dungeon. Life is not turning out like envisioned. And I’m wondering if you can relate?
Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples
and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” Matthew 11:2-3
We find John in the dungeon (Matthew 11) sending his disciples to Jesus. He wanted to know if Jesus was the Messiah.
Is he serious? This IS John the Baptist, isn’t it? Here is the PILLAR of a man who, a few chapters ago, was declaring that Jesus was The Guy. His whole life pointed toward it. John KNEW he was right and found great joy in proclaiming this truth.
What in the world is going on?
The same thing that goes on with you and me.
You and I can have our own dungeon experiences.
John is discouraged.
Remember his calling?
He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, Malachi 4:4-5
John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet: “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ John 1:23
His faithfulness had landed him in prison where he can’t draw crowds to “prepare the way” or “turn Israel from their sin.” No one can “make straight the path” when they are sitting in the dark. This is NOT what he imagined for his life. And he is alone.
The Problem of Isolation
It’s when you and I are alone that Satan takes the great opportunity. Your mind begins to entertain thoughts that on a good hair day when your skinny jeans fit just right, you’d NEVER allow. For John, that’s when people were repenting. Hearts were changing. Ministry was flourishing. Those kinds of negative thoughts are quickly passed over.
But not in the dark. Not in the flea-infested, filth-infused dungeons we sometimes find ourselves within. You don’t dismiss those thoughts when all hope is nearly gone. You can’t extinguish them when what you thought was God’s instructions for your life seem more like something you constructed mentally. Maybe you never heard Him at all. Then everything you thought you believed with your whole life becomes cloudy.
This is where we find our POWERHOUSE John the Baptist. He wants a STRAIGHT UP answer from Jesus.
“ARE YOU THE ONE?”
There are times when we find ourselves in such a state of discouragement we question the very person of Christ and His presence or direction in our lives. If John can find himself here, you and I can maneuver our way into the wilderness of doubt in half the time.
Let’s learn from John two things:
- Go straight to Jesus in your doubt and discouragement. This is the key for all suffering.
- Don’t be afraid to ask Jesus the hard question and wait for the response. John needed answers, direction, and his hope restored, just like you. Jesus will keep you from falling.
Let’s do the work with Jesus today. I am praying that we will.
With much affection,
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